Takeaways from latest campaign filings: Biden’s money lead widens as Trump’s legal fees pile up

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By journalsofus.com

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President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump


donald trumpThe campaign saw an increase in donations in February, but failed to match the accelerated fundraising pace set by Joe Bidenwhose political operation expanded his already substantial financial lead over his Republican rival heading into March and the general election showdown, new documents show.

The February financial reports filed Wednesday night also underscore the steep price tag of Trump’s legal troubles: just legal bills. surpassed the money Trump’s leadership PAC received last month.

Meanwhile, Robert Kennedy Jr. – whose independent bid for the White House is facing increasing scrutiny and criticism from democrats – is racking up big bills as an allied super PAC spent big to help it reach voters and gain access to the ballot in more states.

Below are some key takeaways from the new campaign filings for the month of February:

The new filings, which cover only a portion of the committees associated with each presidential candidate, continue to show Biden’s early dominance in fundraising.

The president ended February with $71 million in cash on hand in his main campaign account, more than double the $33.5 million in cash reserves the Trump campaign had. Biden widened the gap seen in late January, when his campaign had nearly $56 million in available funds compared to Trump’s roughly $30.5 million.

The documents also show that the Democratic National Committee ended February with more than twice as much cash on hand as its Republican counterpart, bolstering Democrats’ financial advantage over a political operation that Trump is working to build. with the national Republican Party now that he is the party’s presumptive candidate.

View this interactive content on CNN.com

Some groups affiliated with the presidential candidates will not disclose their balance sheets to federal regulators until next month, but totals released by the two candidates’ campaigns highlight the disparity between them as of late February.

Trump campaign and joint fundraising committee together raised $20.3 million in February and entered this month with a total of $41.9 million in cash on hand, a Trump campaign official told CNN.

Those amounts are far behind the $53 million that Biden and Democrats previously announced they would raise in February and the whopping $155 million in cash on hand that the president’s team said he had accumulated with his affiliated committees.

Faced with his campaign’s fundraising crisis, Trump has taken a more hands-on approach with donors, including meeting contributors at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The former president is scheduled to headline a big-ticket fundraiser next month in Palm Beach, where top taxpayers will be able to dine at their table, among other benefits, according to an invitation obtained by CNN.

Wednesday’s filings also underscore the financial strain of Trump’s ongoing legal problems.

The Save America leadership PAC, which Trump has used as a vehicle to help fund legal fees incurred by him and his allies, spent nearly $5.6 million on legal bills in February.

Those expenses exceeded Save America’s total revenue, most of which came in the form of a $5 million refund the PAC received from a Trump-aligned super PAC, MAGA Inc. In total, Save America has recovered more than $52 million super PAC, diverting resources from an account intended to help support Trump’s presidential bid to pay his mounting legal bills.

Save America is on track to soon exhaust $60 million in refunds requested it previously by MAGA Inc.

trump faces 88 criminal charges in four jurisdictions and is also fighting to secure $500 million bail to appeal his civil fraud conviction in New York.

A joint fundraising deal the Trump campaign recently signed with the national and state Republican parties will set aside a portion of the money it raises to benefit Save America, a potential way to boost the leadership PAC’s dwindling balance.

MAGA Inc., the Trump-aligned super PAC, received $12.7 million in February, boosted by a $5 million contribution from a Nevada-based hotelier and space entrepreneur. Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow, who previously supported the campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a former Trump rival, is among several wealthy Republican donors who will attend a high-dollar fundraiser next month to benefit Trump and the GOP. .

Other contributors to Trump’s super PAC last month included former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler and businessman James Liautaud.

A Kennedy-aligned super PAC increased its spending in February, pouring resources into advertising and ballot-access efforts, new reports show.

American Values ​​2024, the main super PAC supporting Kennedy’s campaign, reported spending nearly $8.8 million last month, a dramatic increase from the $1.4 million it had spent in January. Biggest spend in February: More than $6 million to CBS for high-profile and Controversial Super Bowl ad which reused a 1960 presidential campaign ad by the candidate’s late uncle.

The group also reported spending about $950,000 on ballot access efforts as Kennedy seeks a spot on presidential candidates’ lists in the fall.

American Values ​​2024 reported raising $4.2 million last month, $4 million of which came from allied mega-donor Gavin de Becker.

De Becker, an executive at a private security company, previously donated $10 million to the super PAC and has been repaid $9.65 million, in an unusual deal that super PAC officials have previously described as “bridge financing.” ”.

Super PAC officials did not immediately respond to a CNN inquiry Wednesday about De Becker’s $4 million donation in February. His firm has also been a major supplier to the Kennedy campaign.

Earlier this month, the DNC filed a complaint against the super PAC, alleging that the group had not adequately disclosed de Becker’s activity such as loans and loan repayments. American Values ​​​​2024 did not report any contribution refunds in February.

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s main campaign committee raised $3.2 million and spent nearly $2.9 million last month. He entered March with about $5.1 million in cash on hand and owed more than $1.3 million in debt to Becker’s firm for security services and travel costs.

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